Homecoming?

How can you feel at home when part of you feels like your home is on the other side of the world?

I am aware it has been a long time between posts and since I last wrote I have moved back to Perth, Australia. A lot has changed in my world back here and after 5 months I am still struggling to fit in. The first major change is a lot of my friends have become parents while I’ve been away. I am really happy for all of them, but it does at times, leave me feeling a bit inadequate. Our conversations have changed (naturally) but more than that, we are no longer on the same page about a lot of things. And how can we be?! Having a child changes your priorities massively and now all my conversational contributions seem trivial in comparison. Here’s me pondering my New Years Eve options for this year, while some of them would just be happy with a good night’s sleep! Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t bad things, and for those friends who might be reading please don’t be offended it’s just all new and different for me.

For the entire time I was away, in the back of my mind I would be thinking of home, Perth and all my friends and family here. Part of me was always excited at the prospect of coming home and being reunited with everyone and for life to go on as normal. How naive of me to think that just because I left the country, my whole world would be on pause, just waiting for me to come home so things could start again.  It’s the realisation that actually a lot has changed, that’s completely thrown me. I find myself with a handful of good friends in Perth who have actually made the effort to see me, and whom make me glad to be back. While at the same time feeling like my best friends, my ‘crew’ if you will are on the other side of the world. I will miss London for the rest of my life, there is something about that city that just clicks with me, but the thing I miss the most are my people there.

So when I catch up with people and they ask, ‘are you glad to be back? Or are you missing it already?’ my first instinct is to say “I miss it so much, I’d be back on a plane tomorrow if I could be” but instead I am trying to focus on the positives. And there ARE a lot of positives.. aside from people..firstly, the air quality. Doesn’t sound like much I know, but when you’ve lived in a big city that has one of the world’s highest pollution levels, you notice the clean, almost sweet smelling and tasting air when you step off that plane. Secondly, the light. I never appreciated how lucky we are in Australia to have so much daylight. Something my body ached for when it was dark at 3:45pm in the dead of winter and you’re walking to and from work in the dark. Thirdly, the beach. It’s not officially summer here yet, in fact it’s barely been spring with the weather we have been having (British summer styles) but I have managed to get to the beach (and swim!) twice already! There really are no beaches like West Australian beaches. Soft white sand, clear waters.. they’re the best.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is, something they don’t tell you when you move away, is that coming home is a lot harder than leaving. I honestly thought after 5 months I would have some semblance of a normal life in place, but alas I don’t. I don’t have a full time job, a car, my own place.. and don’t even get me started on the Perth dating scene.. but I’m trying to STAY POSITIVE… as a good friend recently pointed out to me, ‘unfortunately things will have changed, but that doesn’t mean for the worse’. So my motto moving forward (perhaps an early new years resolution?) is EMBRACE THE CHANGE.. may as well, there’s no point chasing the past, what’s done is done, time to look ahead and make the future as exciting and interesting as possible!

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N

Ps – I am going to try a lot harder to be more consistent with this blog I promise!
Pps – If you have gone through something similar to this, I’d love to hear from you!

X

 

 

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Christmas in London

For those wondering what Christmas in London is like, have a gander at my post from Christmas last year! 


 

I love this time of year, but never before have I felt SO festive! The City of London have truly exceeded my expectations with their festive cheer. Every major monument has it’s very own Christmas tree, every street has their own themed Christmas decorations and as it’s getting colder there are people selling roasted nuts, Christmas markets are popping up everywhere along the Thames, it really is a magical atmosphere.

This will be my first cold Christmas, so it’s been surreal to see and experience all these things – it’s so strange, it’s not hot, school’s not wrapping up, there wont be any seafood on my plate on Christmas Day.. but that’s ok! I came here to experience new things and this is definitely going to be a Christmas to remember.

Here are just some of the Christmas tree’s I’ve spied around London over the last month…

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Covent Garden

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Borough Markets

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St Paul’s Cathedral

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Shakespeare’s Globe

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Trafalgar Square

 

Christmas Markets have been big on the agenda lately, we found a Scandinavian Christmas Market near our house in Rotherhithe, where I had a chance to try mulled wine for the first time.

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The streets of London are not only covered in Christmas trees, but lights!!!

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Regent Street

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Regent Street

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St Paul’s Cathedral

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Bond Street

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House of Fraser

 

With Christmas themed streets comes Christmas themed events! Including the Santa Run my flatmate Frances and I did. 6km around Battersea Park, in a Santa suit!

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Ready for action!

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Ho Ho Ho!

 

After this run, we kicked on to Santacon! An annual Santa convention where groups of people dressed up as Santa meet up in London to drink basically.. quite a sight to behold..

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Saying hello to Lizzie…

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Santa’s taking over Buckingham Palace..

 

We had our ‘house Christmas’ on Sunday, with all my flat mates, as we will all be apart for Christmas. It was so lovely, we spent all day in the kitchen, I cooked my first roast! We had Christmas carols playing all day, whilst my flat mates made a gingerbread house, we had baked Camembert, roast turkey and a wide selection of vegetables, with a broccoli and zucchini quiche. Then for dessert Cranachan a Scottish dessert followed by fruit minced pies!! So needless to say, if our individual Christmas’s don’t turn out as expected, we had it covered!
We then sat down to watch the classic National Lampoons Christmas Vacation and A Muppets Christmas Carol. I love Christmas movies, it doesn’t matter if they’re corny or cheesey, you only watched them once a year so you may as well indulge a little!

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Our feast!

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Setting our table..

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Cranachan desserts

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Gingerbread house!

 

And the main event is still to come!! Safe to say I have well and truly celebrated enough Christmas this year for the next few years to come!

Merry Christmas everyone! 🙂

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Barlow House Christmas Tree

N

Amy Poehler is My New Favourite Person

Amy Poehler at the 2013 Vanity Fair Oscars Party in West Hollywood

Amy Poehler is probably best known for her work on Parks and Recreation and Saturday Night Live. I was late to the Parks party but I have consumed all 7 seasons in the last 6 months. Which has lead to me obsessively watching old SNL clips on YouTube. This woman is so hilarious sometimes I can’t stand it.

I have also recently finished her book ‘Yes Please!’ Which is also hilarious and thoughtful and endearing. She has a way of writing about her life that is not contentious, she mentions a lot of famous friends and encounters but it’s not braggy or name-dropping. She is very honest and constantly refers to the fact that writing a book is hard and that anyone who says otherwise is lying. She then backs up the point by letting her good friend Seth Myers write a chapter for her, as well as contributions from her mum and dad and BFF Tina Fey.

Among the funny anecdotes from her early years in improv in Chicago to her days on Saturday Night Live, she drops some pretty good life advice.. here are some snippets;

“That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again. Good for her! Not for me.”

“However, if you do start crying in an argument and someone asks why, you can always say, “I’m just crying because of how wrong you are.”

“Dancing is the great equalizer. It gets people out of their heads and into their bodies. I think if you can dance and be free and not embarrassed you can rule the world.”

“I cannot stress enough that the answer to life’s questions is often in people’s faces. Try putting your iPhones down once in a while, and look in people’s faces. People’s faces will tell you amazing things. Like if they are angry, or nauseous or asleep.”

She also voices a character in the latest Pixar movie ‘Inside Out’ and at the end of the year we get to see her and gal-pal Tina Fey in a new comedy called ‘Sisters’.

There isn’t really a point to this post, other than for me to gush openly about how much admiration and respect I have for this woman and to share how funny she is… check out the trailer to Sisters;

And something worth watching… Amy Poehler rapping about Sarah Palin whilst 9 months pregnant…

If you are looking for a good, easy read I highly recommend ‘Yes Please!’

N

The Heat is Here!

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The UK and most of Europe is currently experiencing a heat wave, and I am so happy about it.

People love to talk about the different ‘types’ of heat… Some people can’t fathom that 30 degrees could be considered a nice day in Perth, when 30 degrees in London feels like you’re melting out of your skin. The reason is our cities are designed with specific weather in mind, for instance, buildings in London are designed to keep the heat in, they’re getting better but most places don’t have air conditioning and the tube is even more of a cess-pool of filth than normal – if it’s even running because apparently the train tracks over here melt in anything above 35 degrees!

But for me, this weather is bringing back some amazing, happy memories. Yesterday I was literally sitting at the desk at work when I caught a waft of warm air from outside. I was instantly reminded of home, of summer holidays, BBQ’s with my family and friends, Christmas and all the excitement that comes with it, and of course the beach.

I love and miss the fact that you can walk outside and the wind is warm. Yesterday after work my flat mate and I went down to our local park with some ciders and a bag of chips and watched some guys playing cricket, and just chilled out on the grass.. it was so delightful and relaxing. I love that something so simple can make me so happy.

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There is one summer memory that will stick in my mind forever.. when I was little and we were around my Nonna & Nonno’s house for dinner, afterwards, once the sun had gone down and the temperature was still in the 30’s, my Nonno would be sitting out the front on the porch or out the back overlooking his vegetable garden and I would ask; ‘Why are you sitting out in this heat?! Come inside in the cool!’ and he would answer ‘I’m drying my bones out’. He had a fantastic sense of humour, I miss him dearly.

Isn’t it amazing that I can get all of that from one wisp of warm air?

N

 

I’m Happy and You’re Going to Hear About It!!

happiness

I am in a joyous mood today. It may have something to do with the sun finally gracing us with it’s presence. It also might be due to the fact that I am suddenly very aware of all the great things I have coming up.

Firstly, I am living in London and having the time of my life… the days are nice and long (it’s not dark until 10pm) the weather is finally getting better, I live with amazing people, there is always someone to catch up with, a play to see or a concert to go listen to.

Next week I am reunited with one of my favourite people on the planet, in Paris of all places! Then I am off to Ireland to catch up with more friends I haven’t seen in too long. I will be saying farewell to one cousin, and welcoming another.

Basically I am just really happy where I am in life right now, and I want to absolutely make the most of it, and soak it all in and not for one second take for granted what I am so lucky to have and be surrounded with. I feel like shouting it from the rooftops today… but instead I will just share it with you!

No matter what is going on in your day to day life, I think it’s so important to just stop and be mindful and remember that it could always be worse!

N

Tours and Parks

The weekend just gone, I decided to take advantage of the sunny weather and get and about and explore after a few months of hibernating on the couch (as one tends to do in the winter!)

Saturday I had booked a tour of the Royal Albert Hall. This is a venue with so much history, I had always wanted to see the inside of it, but there weren’t any shows playing that I wanted to see, and for £7 I could walk around the entire place, so I thought why not!?

 

View from one of best seats in the house.

View from one of best seats in the house.

This hall has hosted countless events since the 1800’s including turning the whole place into a garden party, complete with grass and elephant! To hosting psychedelic rockers Pink Floyd who proceeded to destroy the stage… I don’t believe they’ve played there since..

The top section of the ginormous organ

The top section of the ginormous organ

This organ is still used almost on a weekly basis, it’s the largest in Europe!

A photo of Albert Einstein speaking here in 1930's.

A photo of Albert Einstein speaking here in 1930’s.

 

On Sunday I took myself on a free walking tour, The Secrets of London. It was really interesting, covering ground that I walk around daily, but divulging new facts and showing me things I never noticed. For example, on the side of the St-Dunstan-In-The-West Church, there is a statue of Elizabeth I, that was moved there from Ludgate in the 1700’s after the Fleet River was covered over to become what is now Ludgate Circus and Fleet Street. Amazing. (sorry I don’t have a picture of it)

 

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I had planned on going to a museum or something after the tour, but it was such a nice sunny day, I couldn’t bare to spend it indoors, so I proceeded to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens for lunch and a wander.

 

The Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens

The Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens

The Italian Fountains... used in the filming of Bridget Jones The Edge of Reason (fountain fight between Darcy & Cleever)

The Italian Fountains… used in the filming of Bridget Jones The Edge of Reason (fountain fight between Darcy & Cleever)

My view from lunch

My view from lunch

London is so stunning when the sun comes out. I am so excited for Summer to roll on in, even though it means the Tube is going to be utterly grotesque, it will be worth it to enjoy all the green spaces hidden away amongst the grey buildings in this city.

N

Playing Host

I know I’ve been a little bit slack on the blogging front lately… sorry!

One of my friends from Perth, Julia came to stay with me a couple of weeks ago for a fun-filled weekend and despite the dismal weather London decided to put on, we had a marvelous time!

Saturday we set off to Spitafields markets where we were delighted to find a pop up Independent Market section, full of independent breweries and independent music labels! So beers in hand, we had a look through bucket loads of vinyl. Then we followed our stomachs to Brick Lane where we filled up on tasty samples from the food markets and a £1 bagel with cream cheese from Beigel Bake. Nom!

 

Camden Pills... delightful local beer.

Camden Pills… delightful local beer.

The most delicious bagels I've ever tasted.

The most delicious bagels I’ve ever tasted.

Then onto the main event… Karnivool at The Roundhouse. The famous venue that has hosted the likes of The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Blondie, The Ramones, The Clash… just to name a few!! Needless to say, this venue has been on my ‘wish list’ for a long time.. and what better band to see there than one from my home town of Perth. It is literally the best venue I have ever been to… you can see perfectly from every spot in the auditorium (provided you’re not behind one of the many pillars holding the place up!) and the acoustics are great. I hadn’t seen Karnivool in a couple of years, so it was nice to see they still haven’t lost their touch. They are such good musicians, if you closed your eyes you could have sworn you were listening to their recorded album. What was also nice, was talking to and seeing fully grown English men, turning into ‘fan girls’ and screaming along to the lyrics, word for word. I naively thought the crowd would be full of Aussies, there were quite a few but I think it was about half and half which is really refreshing! Oh and we also met a guy from Germany who had flown in especially for the gig.

A rather tall member of the crowd...

A rather tall member of the crowd…

 

Sunday could have easily been a recovery day, being that it was cold, windy and wet but when your guest only has one day left in this great city you can’t spend it on the couch! So we hopped on a bus and went to Greenwich. It’s only 15 minutes away from my house but it feels like you’ve left London entirely and entered a little seaside village. It really reminds me of Fremantle in Western Australia, with it’s traditional style buildings, giant ship museum (The Cutty Sark) docked in the centre of town and it’s many funky coffee shops and vinyl outlets. So we once again scrounged around in bins of vinyl and laughed at some of the ridiculous 45 covers.

So many 45's!

So many 45’s!

One of the many hilarious album covers found...

One of the many hilarious album covers found…

A quick stroll around the old buildings, passed Meantime Brewery and onto Greenwich Park. A park so big, that every time I go there I find something new. This time it was the Flower Garden, a ‘little’ fenced off area of the park with a more manicured garden feel and a pond!

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A section of the Flower Garden

 

I love making the most of my weekends, taking advantage of my weekly travel pass and exploring this great city. It is even better when you have someone to show it off to! So just putting it out there.. all visitors are welcome to tour London with me anytime!

Doing our best not to look too hungover..

Doing our best not to look too hungover..

N